Cross-Cultural communication strategies-Japan andAmericaINTRODUCTIONWhen communicating with Japanese business people, American business peoplesometimes feel uncomfortable, puzzled, lost, irritated and the like, based on someunfamiliar customs and behaviors demonstrated by the Japanese business people.Nothing is more comfortable and secure than understanding the cross-culturalaspect. Understanding can facilitate communication and avoid misunderstanding.Understanding then can also make the Japanese business people feel comfortable.This also enhances business communications.When it comes to communicating dealing with the Japanese business people, theynegotiate with the American business people, bringing their own culturalbackground. In many cases, what may be considered to be acceptable byAmerican standards may be unacceptable to the Japanese. Japanese and Americancultures doe not seem to have many things in common. At the same time, noJapanese would give American business people a single clue. informing them thatwhat they have done might not have been acceptable.Although minor mistakes are permissible, misunderstandings and failure torecognize important cultural subtleties may lead to stagnation or dismissal of thecommunications. In reference to the cross-cultural aspect, more strict rules mustbe observed for the Japanese culture than for the American culture.In this paper, many cross-culturally related areas in business communications arediscussed. They are gift exchange in communications, values, exchangingbusiness cards, and the like.
Naturally, these cross cultural areas are not the entire core of the cross culturalbusiness communication. However, the initial understanding of the Japanese crosscultural business communications may be a good start.BUSINESS PRACTICE AND CUSTOMSIn this section, three areas are discussed:business suits,(b) business card (a)exchange, and (c) gift exchange (temiyage).Many Japanese businessmen tend to wear dark suits of navy blue, dark gray orbrown. They consider these colors to be acceptable at business meetings, forworking in the company, for meeting their client, and the like. The suits andneckties that they wear are quite conservative.A Japanese businessman usually fastens the high button of his suit when he comesinto a room to meet with his American counterpart to discuss possible businesscommunications. Based on Japanese business practice, it is common for aJapanese businessman to fasten that button before he greets his partner for thefirst time or when he talks to a superior or an older person, while standing.However, it is permissible for him to unbutton it while he is sitting in a chair. Ifhis superior or a client comes in to introduce him to another person while he isseated, it is also a common practice for him to fasten the higher button first and tostand up in order to talk to them.Business Card Exchange ( meishi )Among the Japanese, when businessmen meet each other, business begins withthe exchange of business cards."Each day in Japan, an estimated 10 million to 12 million of the 2-by-3-inchmeishi (business cards) are passed in a precise ceremonial exchange of bows thathelp keep this status-oriented society together.:"(Arizona Republic, 1986)Taking Out a Business CardThere are many different methods of taking a business card out of a business suit.One way is to keep some business cards in a small pocket located on the lowerleft part of the inside of the jacket. Another way to take out a business card is tokeep the cards in a small wallet. Either way is acceptable as long as thebusinessman does not spendtoo much time looking for his business card, thus making his partner wait.1When giving a business card, picking up papers from a briefcase, putting papersback into a briefcase and the like, it is considered very important to the Japanesenot to make ones counterpart wait.
Giving and Receiving Business CardsWhen Japanese exchange business cards, it is common practice to stand up andgive their business cards with two hands rather than with one hand, while at thesame time bowing slightly. Bowing indicates humility and politeness as well ascourtesy. Furthermore, when a Japanese businessman gives his business card, henormally turns it in such a way that the receiver can read it without having to turnit. Because these behaviors imply humble, polite, and courteous manners, whenexchanging business cards, it is also very rare for a Japanese businessman toreceive a card with one hand. If he does not use both hands, the other Japanesewill consider him extremely rude.Although the Japanese businessman may hand his business card with two hands toan American or foreigner, the foreigner may receive it with one hand. This is dueto the fact that the foreigner would not know the Japanese business practice. TheJapanese businessman would not feel offended, but slightly uncomfortablefeelings may in fact remain.Contents of a Business CardAs a Japanese businessman receives a business card, he usually takes a look at itand reads the description of the contents."It is bad form simply to pocket a newly received card. You should study it fora moment with a furrowed look of interest." (Arizona Republic, 1986 )When a Japanese businessman receives a business card, he looks at it in order tofind (1) the name of the other businessman, (2) his title, (3) the name of hiscompany, (4) address, and (5) telephone number. He would like to know the otherpersons job description, his accountability, his age and title. (For furtherinformation on different ranks andtitles, please refer to the final chart .)2According to the Japanese corporate hierarchy system which is based on seniorityand merit, the accountability and responsibility given to each person is prettymuch determined by administrative position. For example, in order to assume theposition of department chief (bucho), a man usually must be 45 years old or more,and to assume the position of section chief (kacho), he usually must be at least 40years old.When the Japanese businessman talks about a sale of goods, he is often able to tellfrom the other persons title whether or not the decision to purchase the goodsmight be made by that person. For this reason, the seller can be assured that hecan sell the goods without having to get approval of a superior officer.Age and Title
In Japanese companies, most department chiefs (bucho) are 45 years old or older.However some young Japanese businessmen can be promoted to section chief
(kacho) or department chief (bucho), lets say at the age of 38 or so. When thereceiver sees the title of department chief on the business card, and the otherbusinessman looks quite young, possible below 40 years old, the receiver canmake the assumption that the other businessman is an extremely capable personfor having earned that title at such a young age. Because ones age and title inmost cases have a strong relationship, one can pretty much guess a Japanesepersons age when looking at his business card, even without having met him. Forfurther information in corporate ranking, please refer to the chart after thereferences.GIFT EXCHANGE (temiyage)In giving a gift, a Japanese will stand up and hold the gift out with his two hands.Then the other Japanese is expected to stand up and extend his two hands in orderto receive the gift. The process of exchanging gifts is known as temiyage. It isdesirable for a foreigner to stand up and receive a gift from a Japanese with twohands, because in the mind of the Japanese, there exists a sense of expectation thatcourteous feelings and appreciation should be demonstrated in this manner.When a Japanese stands up and gives a gift with two hands, if a foreigner remainsseated and receives the gift with one hand, the Japanese may feel slightly hurt andthe manner would give an unfavorable impression. This is because the Japanesefeels that he has made an effort to bring the gift for the foreigner, but the foreignerhas taken it lightly. It seems to the Japanese that the receiver did not consider thegiving of the gift to be of value. To the Japanese, what is important is the thoughtand effort made in bringing the gift, rather than the value of the gift itself.Although it may be permissible for the foreigner to remain seated and receivethe gift with one hand, there remain some negative feelings in the mind of theJapanese.3 When a gift is received, it would be nice to say "Thanks again for theomiyage (gift)," at the end of the conversation. This makes the Japanesefeel that the receiverappreciates the fact that he was given a gift. As a result, the Japanese feelscontent, happy and that it was worthwhile to bring the gift for the receiver.General Practice of Gift ExchangeIn cases other than business, when the Japanese bring gifts to one another, theywish to convey their friendly feelings to each other. Although it would be possibleto express such feelings as friendliness in other ways, their main objective is toexpress these with something tangible, such as a gift, rather than somethingintangible, like verbal communication.A gift can also indicate that they wish to have some kind of relationship with eachother. If the receiver is a friend, the giver could be seeking a deeper
friendship. By presenting a gift, the intention of seeking such a relationship ismade clearer and appears greater than without it.Business Transactions and Gift ExchangeGenerally speaking in Japan, when Japanese businessmen from one company visitanother Japanese company to do business, they do not take gifts with them except,perhaps, on their initial visit. Then they might bring gifts such as cakes or sweetpastries. However when it comes to international business communications to beheld in theU.S. between an American company and a Japanese company, a gift is oftenbrought.4If it is the first opportunity to get acquainted with each other, the giving of a gift isjust a form of greeting. Presenting a gift implies good will, a friendly attitude andpossibly, a desire to do business together. The practice of giving a gift is used inorder to express these feelings indirectly rather than to express them verbally,which is too direct. Usually the Japanese would not take a gift on subsequentbusiness meetings.When getting acquainted with each other for the first time, if the receiver is a highranking businessman such as a member of the board, the president, or the vicepresident of a large American company, for example, the price, quality and valueof thegift will also be high.5Even on the first occasion, whether the Japanese bring a small or large gift withthem depends on the size difference between the two companies, type of businesscommunications, participants and the like. In other words, generally, if theJapanese company is small and hopes to have many business transactions or largetransactions, they will send high ranking participants to meet in a communicationand will send expensive gifts as well.Gift Exchange and ExpectationThe giving of a gift by the Japanese for the first time is not intended to push or toforce a sense of obligation on the receivers part to return the favor by doingbusiness together. For instance, when a Japanese businessman goes to theheadquarters of another company to discuss the possibility of their doing businesstogether, he will at the same time take a gift. Thus, he is showing that hiscompany is interested in their doing business with the other company, but at thisstage, neither side knows whether or not that goal will be achieved.Gift Giving during the Process of a Business TransactionWhen both parties have met with each other and have agreed to do businesstogether, particularly just before the business decision making process and/orsigning of a contract, some Japanese may bring valuable gifts for their
counterparts. This type of gift giving, however, has great expectations and showsa strong commitment to doing business together.Opening the GiftTo the Japanese, the value lies in the bringing of a gift and the effort that is madeto bring it. The person bringing the gift hopes that the receiver has recognized thisand appreciates that a gift was brought. The contents of the gift itself is not theprimary concern for the Japanese.In Japan, it is customary for a Japanese to take a gift when meeting another personfor the first time. This custom is carried over into business and therefore, aJapanese businessman might bring a gift to an American businessman at the firstmeeting.Because more emphasis is placed on the bringing of the gift rather than thecontents of the gift, normally when a Japanese receives a gift from anotherJapanese, the receiver does not open the gift in the presence of the giver. (Theauthor has never witnessed a case in which a Japanese opened a gift in thepresence of another Japanese.) If the Japanese receiver opened it in the presenceof the giver, the giver would probably consider that the receiver had demonstratedan extremely blatant act.When it comes to an American businessman receiving a gift in an Americancompany, the Japanese businessmen tend to understand the different custom ofopeningthe gift in front of the giver in the U.S. as opposed to in Japan. 6 Many Japanesebusinessmen consider opening the gift in their presence to be permissible, thoughit is still preferable that it would remain unopened. Some Japanese businessmenfeel that it would be even better for the American businessmen asked kindly forpermission.On the other hand, an American businessman receiving a gift from a Japanesebusinessman in Japan is a different "ball game." In this case, because the giftgiving takes place in Japan and because a Japanese would not open a gift in thepresence of the Japanese who gives it, opening a gift in the presence of the giverwould be considered tobe against the rule.7 In many cases, it would make the Japanese feel extremelyuncomfortable, especially when being asked for permission. This is because theJapanese would find it extremely difficult to say "No," as this is also consideredrude.Sometimes, especially when a clear difference in rank exists, the Japanesebusinessman may not give the identical gift to all businessmen present. Inaddition, the Japanese may be more closely associated to one businessman than
another. In such a context, the Japanese might give a more expensive gift to thehigher ranking or better known person. Thus if the American businessmen opentheir gifts in the
presence of the Japanese, the Japanese would feel extremely embarrassed whenthe Americans recognized that they received gifts with different values.What Do Japanese Think American Businessmen Feel About ReceivingGifts?Japanese usually think that American businessmen receive a gift with curiosity,wonder and uncertainty as to why the Japanese has brought a gift. They realizethat it would be difficult for the American to figure out the gift means.Although the American would not feel that the Japanese has great expectationsabout receiving the gift, the Japanese may think that the American might wonder,"Why did he bring a gift," and "I wonder what he wishes me to do?" or perhaps,"Should I receive the gift?" However, the Japanese would think that the Americanwould not interpret the receiving of the gift as negative. Rather, he would thinkthat the American would think of receiving it as an interesting experience.After American businessmen receive a gift a number of times from Japanese, theyrealize that the gift giving is a custom.STRATEGYWhen a Japanese company feels it is in a relatively weak position, it often fearsthat the other company may refuse to do business with them. The followingreasons that a company may feel that they are in a weak position: (1) a smallermarket share, (2) high competition, (3) inferior technology, and (4) companyneeds.Reasons for Using Such Words as "Success," "Profit" and "Satisfy"If Japanese businessmen feel they are in a weaker position, they will be carefulnot to use negative words when talking about their company. Instead, they will tryto stimulate the interest of the other company, in order to do business together.Thus they try to create a good impression of their company by using such wordsas "success," "confident," "profit" and the like. Another reason for using suchwords is when a company is extremely concerned about the possible refusal onthe part of the other to dobusiness. Some example sentences used to stimulate interest are as follows: 8We established our company about 12 years ago and we are expanding rapidly, sowe are very satisfied with our performance and our success.One of the reasons that we are confident in our success is that right now we haveour headquarters in Tokyo...and we are making a profit every term, so we are verymuch satisfied and our shareholders are satisfied too.
Speaking About Profits and ExpansionThe very next question which comes to the mind of the reader is whether or notJapanese businessmen usually talk about their companys profits and expansionwhen speaking with Japanese businessmen from other companies.The answer is no. There are several reasons for not discussing money andcorporate strategy, both practical and historical. Firstly, businessmen from othercompanies represent "outsiders" as well as being the competition. In discussingthese things a businessman would normally be somewhat circumspect and saythings like, "Were doing O.K.," or "Everything is going well."Some reasons for not discussing profits and/or money, can be attributed to Japanshistorical background in the Edo period (1600-1868) under the Tokugawashogunate. During the early 16th century, two clans, the Toyotomis and theTokugawas, were fighting for control of the country. The Tokugawas defeated theToyotomis in the battle of Sekigahara. After the victory, the Tokugawas dividedthe feudal lords (daimyo) into three distinct classes, the shinpan, fundai, andtozama. The shinpan were related to the Tokugawas, the fundai had been theirallies against the Toyotomis, and the tozama had been their enemies. TheTokugawas also divided society into separate classes with the samurai at the top.The elite soldier class (samurai) was followed in rank by the peasant, craftsman,and merchant. These ranks were hereditary. Merchants fell at the bottom becausethey were non-productive—only profiting by trading goods produced by others.The Tokugawa regime began operating in debt and was unable to pay the samuraitheir normal stipend of rice. In order for the Tokugawa government offset thedeficit, two notable economic reforms were enacted. One was Kyohos economicreform in 1720 under the eighth shogunate Yoshimune, and the second wasTenpos economic reform of 1841-1843 by Mizuno. In these reforms, the centralgovernment encouraged administrators to spend less and to be thrifty. Rice fieldswere expanded, increasing rice productivity, which in turn increased tax income(paid in rice) from the peasants. However, neither reform was successful. As aresult, the central government was unable to operate in the black, and passed itsfiscal problems to the samurai class by not paying them. Thus the samurai wereforced to borrow from the merchant class. When the famine continued, and thesamurai were unable to repay their debts, marriages were often arranged betweensamurai and members of the merchant class. The marriage made it possible for themerchant family to become related to the samurai family. Thus, the merchant wasentitled to use a surname and to carry a sword, the symbols of the elite samuraiclass. In exchange, the samurais debt was forgiven. In effect, the merchant boughtthe elite social status with money. The way the merchant used his wealth wasconsidered vulgar, but money talked, even then. In spite of their elite status,merchants were still looked down upon. In order to raise their level ofrespectability, merchants
would not emphasize their money, which was considered vulgar. Instead, theywould emphasize the fact that they were helping the community as a whole byproviding rice during a famine and by purchasing extra rice when there was aglut. Even now, with all the respectability trade, business, and businessmen haveearned, profits and money are not suitable topics of conversation.Another reason the Japanese would not talk about profits and/or money stemsfrom traditional Confucian teachings which were encouraged during the Edoperiod for the purpose of national unification. In the Confucian teachings, oneexcerpt discusses wealth and fame. The master said:Everyone wishes to seek wealth and fame. However, if he has sought wealth andfame without following the spirit of humanity, wealth and fame will not last.Naturally, a noble wise man would not try to escape from being poor and humblewhen he has become so with reason... Generally, wealth and nobility should beviewed strictly because they tend to demoralize people whereas poverty andlowliness allow one to be fulfilled with the well being of a person and give theopportunity to be humble rather than luxurious.(Norimoto Ushiro 1976: 46)How Japanese Talk About Money and Profits in Modern BusinessOverall, expressions and words associated with money such as profits, payments,commissions, royalty, salary, wages related to the host companys employees, orrecipients of sales may be discussed at the right time and in the right situation.One of the most important considerations must be the correct usage based on therelationship of the communicating firms. When the rules are not strictly obeyed,their counterparts may be considered ill mannered, greedy, senseless, or lacking incommon sense. It can be felt that they are more concerned about money thanabout the essence of the communications. The following examples may give someuseful guidelines.CASE ONE - Job InterviewWhen a student has an interview for his future career, it is common sense that hissalary and other fringe benefits not be discussed in the first interview. In the firstinterview, the company representative is interested in learning his background, thekind of job he can do well, his specialty, and the like.After the company has decided whether or not they can utilize the studentsservices, and after getting the hiring process approved by the personnel, thecompany makes and offer.Discussing his salary normally comes at the very end of the interview process. Ifthe candidate talks about salary before the company is ready to, his manners andmotivations are considered questionable. His concern with salary
implies that he is more interested in money than in his service to the company.Bringing up salary considerations is not the prerogative of the candidate.Japanese business people are more sensitive about discussing salary and moneybecause of their historical and cultural backgrounds. The kind of service offeredplays a major role in terms of contracts if it is related to services and technologytransfer. The following cases will be helpful in understanding money and businesspractices.CASE TWO - Consulting ServiceWhen an American consultant wishes to offer his services as a translator, aninterpreter, or a negotiator to a Japanese firm, the Japanese firm becomes theclient. In this situation, it would be rude for the consultant to speak of the servicefee such as "We charge $50 an hour if the job requires a day but if it takes two, wewill charge $40," and so on. The right time to speak of the service charge isdetermined by the client, after finding out whether or not the client can utilize theservice. The first step is for the Japanese to determine the value of the service.When the client feels a necessity to ask for a service, he will usually inquire aboutthe service charge. The American consultant may feel that discussing the chargemay be a consideration for the Japanese client in accepting the services. However,to many Japanese, it is a topic for the client to bring up.If the American firm starts talking about the service charge, the first impressionthe Japanese may have is, "How dare you speak of the charge before we decide toaccept your services!" The Japanese company clearly knows that the consultingservice fee will be assessed of it relies on their service. They know that "there isno free lunch." The consultant should wait until the client starts talking about thefee.CASE THREE - Communications on Technology TransferWhen a Japanese company wishes to obtain the technology for the manufactureand sale of a product from an American company, the issues for the Japanesecommunicating team are the reliability of the technology and whether or not othercompanies have developed similar products utilizing this technology. Unless theJapanese finds it worthwhile to have the technology, communications on theroyalty and/or transfer fee should not be dealt with. To many Americans prices area part of the entire communication agenda, however, price and/or royalty for thetransfer is a second stage in the communications. A Japanese negotiator wouldrarely discuss the price in the first stage. This should be dealt with as a separateentity to be initiated be the buyer. In the American mind, costs are always aconsideration, but this is not necessarily true with the Japanese. As has been
pointed out, the first goal of the Japanese team will be determining the quality ofthe technology and the potential advantage of possessing it. The content of thetwo stages are entirely separate in the minds of the Japanese.Summary of Money and Profit Topics in Japanese BusinessTo summarize the cross cultural aspect of money and profits in dealing with theJapanese, what the American might think to be harmless or natural may beinterpreted as rude or mannerless. Another important point for Americans to keepin mind is the determination of who is the client. If the purchaser, and thereforethe client, is Japanese, initiation of price discussions should be left to the client. Itwould be appropriate to give them the opportunity to ask questions about price,cost, royalties, and so on. When the Japanese client begins talking about thesecharges, it signifies a serious interest in the core of the communications and alsothat they have progressed to the second stage.VALUE SYSTEMAmong the many values in the Japanese culture, some of the most important forbusiness are the following: showing respect, putting people at ease, and showingappreciation.Showing RespectOne way for an American businessman to show respect for his Japanesecounterpart is to synchronize himself with the Japanese.SynchronizingAn example synchronizing is waiting to stand up until your counterpart does so.This is especially important in situations where one of the businessmen mustarrange papers in his briefcase at the end of a conversation. To put the papersaway before the end of the conversation, while someone is still talking, would bevery rude. At the same time, it is very uncomfortable for one person to stand andwait while the other rushes to put his things in order.In Japan, when a businessman visits an office of another company and he standsup sooner than the person who works for that company, it suggests that he wantsto finish up the conversation as quickly as he can and/or he may have some otherplace to go. In either case, his standing up indicates that he wishes to leave theroom.Using Two HandsWhen in Japan, an American businessman should exchange business cards usingboth hands, and when receiving a gift should stand up and receive it with twohands.
Non-Verbal CommunicationNon-verbal communication can be demonstrated using the whole body, manyparts of the body, or one part of the body either accompanying speech or withoutspeech. Some of the parts of the body frequently used in non-verbalcommunication are the following: (1) head, (2) face, (3) eyes, (4) arms, (5)fingers, and (6) legs.Japanese Method of CommunicatingIn reference to non-verbal behavior of the Japanese, the Japanese tend tocommunicate indirectly by beating-around-the-bush rather than a direct method.Thus one does not transmit ones ideas to a listener in a direct manner. Directnessoften leads to confrontation, which in Japan must be avoided. Therefore, the moredirectly one communicates his ideas, both verbally and non-verbally, the moreuncomfortable the Japanese listener becomes. Thus, it would be very rude toexpress oneself in such a manner.It is considered to be rude to express ones feelings and emotions freely,particularly in public. The Japanese consider these manners to be inconsiderate ofother peoples feelings. This communication system always places moreimportance on the listeners part rather than the speakers part. In other words, thespeakers position is secondary and the listeners position is primary.In The Wall Street Journal, there appeared an article about Aunt Helen (Bottel),who is the Dear Abby of Japan. The newspaper said the following:"A Japanese wife who complains about her husband will end her letter asking AmI a bad person? while an American wife usually concludes How do I get rid of thebum?"The Japanese tend to choose what to talk about and how to talk according towhen, where and to whom they are speaking. More non-verbal behavior and lesssubtle behavior is used among people with a close relationship.Facial ExpressionsJapanese tend to maintain the same posture throughout a conversation. Because ofthis, it is difficult to detect any mood changes. However, the subtle smile of aJapanese can portray many different feeling. For example, a smile at thebeginning of a conversation is often an attempt to create a good mood. During theconversation, a smile may be due to pleasure with the outcome of theconversation, embarrassment, congeniality or because of something humorous.On a more personal level, a smile may be in appreciation of praise. A smile at theend of a business conversation is generally due to the fact that both speaker andlistener can relax and can become more personal.Eye Contact
Maintaining eye contact is a very unusual behavior among the Japanese since theJapanese custom is to look at the Adams apple of the listener, with only
occasional eye contact. Most Japanese would find it uncomfortable if their partnerkept continuous eye contact with them. However, some Japanese accustomed todealing with foreigners will attempt to maintain eye contact.CONCLUSIONIn conclusion of the analysis and interpretations of the preliminary stage, businesscard exchange is conducted in a traditional manner among Japanese businessmen.The two Japanese businessmen stand up and extend the business card with theirtwo hands and turn it so that the receivers do not need to turn the card around toread the contents. The chart at the end will be useful in order to understand thespectrum of authority when dealing with Japanese businessmen since, in manycases, age and scope of decision making correspond to rank.The title of the businessman is the identification of his position, which, ifprestigious, must be honored. Naturally, the higher the title, the more courtesymust be demonstrated in approaching the businessman, although the size of thecompany also plays a major role.At one occasion, I witnessed a scene in which a receiver of a business card wrotethe businessmans office number with a pen on the card, since the office numberwas not printed on it. The (Japanese) businessman felt a little hurt knowing thatthe receiver did not cherish the card, although the receiver had no intention ofhurting his feelings.All in all, the business card is something that the Japanese businessman canproudly present to another businessman, representing his title as well as hiscompany. In the mind of the Japanese businessman, there is the expectation thatthe receiver will cherish the business card.In the section on gift exchange, I have discussed the reasons why Japanesebusinessmen bring gifts to American businessmen. Based on my experience ofconducting workshops for American companies, I noticed that many Americanbusinessmen knew the gift exchange custom, having dealt with the Japanese. Infact, they had figured out that the gift exchange practice had "no strings attached."After detailed presentations, however, the American businessmen were assuredand felt more confident, knowing that what they had felt about gift exchange wascorrect. Therefore, the American businessmen felt more confident and at ease inreal business situations.Non-verbal communication demonstrated by Japanese may be very subtle andtherefore, it may be difficult to detect. In many cases, the Japanese tend todemonstrate less non-verbal communication than Americans. As a matter of fact,some foreigners are lead to believe that the Japanese are like "statues" and do notindicate their reactions at all.
In reference to the value system, Japanese will be pleased by Americans who knowtheir customs, such as standing up and receiving a gift with two hands, and aresensitive in such things as synchronizing themselves with the Japanese at varioustimes during their encounter.Over all, understanding Japanese business practices and demonstrating whatAmerican businessmen know about the Japanese business practices in the areas ofbusiness card exchange, gift exchange, values and the like will usually makeAmerican businessmen feel more relaxed and confident. At the same time,understanding the Japanese business practices certainly will enhance goodcommunication between them. After all, cross cultural awareness betweenJapanese and Americans is a key, if not the key, for good communication betweentwo cultures so far apart from each other and yet, so in need of effectivecommunication.